False Opt-Outs & Email Clicks

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False Opt-Outs

You may see an unrealistically high number of opt-outs in your emails which can skew email reporting.

Why It Happens

The reason is the same for all companies; most large email providers automatically click through not one link, but subsequent links to identify anything malicious hidden behind any email their server receives. Hence the clicks on the opt-out link, as the spam filters are doing their job.

What Can Be Done?

While we are aware it's an issue, we unfortunately can't stop it, as whether an email is flagged for more checking is determined by the recipient's email setup.

If you can identify the false opt-outs you can remove them as described in Managing Opted-Out or Unsubscribed Contacts in Bulk.

Act-On is continuing to improve our internal bot detection tools & supporting reactively in the removal of false opt-outs when reported. If you need help with this, please contact Support

False Email Clicks

If you are seeing an abnormally high number of clicks in your emails – particularly the "View in Browser" link – an email scanning service such as Barracuda may be the cause. Read on to learn about spam appliance bots and how to reduce inflated click counts in your Sent Message Reports.

What is an Anti-Spam Appliance?

Email servers use a variety of tools to prevent the delivery of spam messages. Some of these tools will result in inflated, atypical, or suspicious clickthrough data on your Sent Message reports. For example, if your customers use Barracuda Email Security Suite (ESS), it will scan incoming emails and click the first link in each message you send to them. ESS does not identify itself as an email security system (most similar products do), so Act-On does not automatically exclude these clicks.

Typical anti-spam appliance clickthrough activities:

  • A high number of clickthroughs on a sent message, often for contacts on the same email domain.
  • Multiple clicks occur simultaneously, shortly after the message is sent.
  • All clicks are for the same link (the first link in your message, often the "View in Browser" link)
  • Click data that is clearly incorrect.

What can I do?

There are two options to help change your reports to remove spambot activity: ignore known IP addresses for Spambots, or ignore clicks on the View in Browser link altogether.

Ignore clicks on the View in Browser Link from Reports

We do not recommend removing the "View in Browser" link from your Email Header if your goal is to eliminate these spambots' behavior. Instead, you can ignore all clicks on this link using an optional feature.

  1. Go to Settings > Other Settings > Custom Account Settings > Labs.
  2. Toggle to enable Ignore clicks on 'View in Browser' link.


Heads up! Making this change will not remove "View in Browser" clicks from existing reports.

Ignore Known IP Addresses

Common IP Addresses to Ignore

Barracuda ESS

Barracuda US


Barracuda UK


Barracuda DE (Germany)


*The range is automatically ignored for all accounts created after May 2017.

Palo Alto Networks



These IP addresses have been associated with abnormal click activities in the past:


Find & Ignore Scanner IPs from your reports (Data Studio, advanced)

If you have the Data Studio add-on feature, pull an Email clickthrough report that includes the IP address field. These are the IP addresses connected to your email clicks.

To confirm whether these clicks are coming from a security provider, verify their MX record information.

  1. Use Nslookup in your command line/terminal (Windows steps here)
  2. When prompted, add the IP address and domain name for the contact(s) responsible for the clicks
  3. Check the data that comes back - it should include the name and information of the security provider
    • For example, clicks from Barracuda include .ess.barracudanetworks.com

To exclude the false clicks from your email reports, go to Settings > Other Settings > Internal IP Addresses and add the security system's IP addresses. This setting will result in the Sent Message report ignoring clicks associated with these IPs moving forward.

Performing this change will not remove email clicks from existing reports. The reports can only be changed moving forward.


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